Meet our International Student Ambassadors

What’s it like to study and live in Perth?

Living and studying in a different country can be a challenging but rewarding experience. When you study at Curtin, you not only receive a degree that’s internationally recognised, you join a diverse community that will support your transition to a new culture and country and develop your experience as a global citizen.

Q&A with Curtin’s international student ambassadors

Our Curtin international student ambassadors are here to make sure you get the most from your Curtin experience by providing insight into what studying at Curtin is really like. Below, they share their advice and guidance on studying at Curtin and living in Perth, Western Australia.

Douglas
Douglas, Kenya

Douglas

“I’m studying chemical engineering. I took quite some time to decide on my course, but my decision was mostly influenced by my love of chemistry and physics.

“I would advise others to reflect on and identify their strengths and weaknesses, as different degrees require different skillsets. This was important for me because my course selection was also affected by external influences, and I had to learn how to isolate what I had been told to do with what I actually wanted to do.”

Michelle
Michelle, Malaysia

Michelle

“What surprised me most about Curtin was the scale of the campus. It is huge and the views are amazing. I love the nature and the simplicity of its architecture. I was also surprised by the opportunities available to students, from study support to extra-curricular activities to career development. The people at Curtin are also very welcoming and friendly.”

Kimia
Kimia, Iran

Kimia

“My key piece of advice to international students on making the most of university would be to keep the bigger picture in mind. Try to see the relevance of what you are learning on a daily basis to your future career.

“Make friends from different cultures and backgrounds as every single person has something interesting to teach you. Don’t be afraid to ask questions – that’s how you learn.”

Sonish
Sonish, Nepal

Sonish

“My advice to new international students on making new friends would be to come out of your comfort zone and start making new friends. You should hang out with people whose first language isn’t the same as yours. Get to know someone who doesn’t come from the place you come from. This is how you see the world. This is how you grow!”

Khalid
Khalid, Saudi Arabia

Khalid

“The Robertson Library at Curtin has a nice, comfortable lounge area and there are rooms for private and group study. My daughter also goes to the child care centre on campus here, which is great because it’s close to home and to me while I’m in class.

“I’ve also used the Curtin Health Clinic for myself and my family, and the University’s housing service. They helped me to find my current house and took me through all the forms and documents.”

Su
Su, Myanmar

Su

“When I have a free day, I love to go to the beach in the summer! In just 15 to 20 minutes in the car, I can get to the most beautiful beaches I have ever seen.

“My biggest challenge moving to Australia was homesickness. I had never lived away from my family so it was super hard. The way I overcame this was through technology. It was so easy to Facetime with my family back home in Myanmar, so they were never too far away when I wanted a chat, which really helped me. Also, just getting more settled and making friends helped to alleviate the homesickness as well.”

Melina
Melina, Germany

Melina

“Perth is still very community-based even though it is a city. The people here are friendly and welcoming and I enjoy the almost continuous sunny days.

“My biggest challenge moving to Australia was the language barrier, but I overcame this by focusing on my English and having an English-speaking friend circle.

“Prior to leaving home, I had no idea how much I would learn about myself and how much I would grow as a person from this study experience.”


More tips from our Ambassadors

What made you choose to study in Perth and/or Australia?

Sonish: Australia proved to be the best country in terms of environment, quality, weather, costs and standard of education. In addition, I was influenced by the scholarships provided by Curtin College. It also takes relatively less time to complete a bachelor degree in Australia than in my home country of Nepal, or other study destinations.

How did you decide on your course? Do you have any tips?

Douglas: I’m studying chemical engineering. I took quite some time to decide on my course, but my decision was mostly influenced by my love of chemistry and physics.

I would advise others to reflect on and identify their strengths and weaknesses, as different degrees require different skillsets. This was important for me because my course selection was also affected by external influences, and I had to learn how to isolate what I had been told to do with what I actually wanted to do.

I would also advise people to reach out to students studying the course they’re thinking of studying, as well as people who work in the field.

What motivated your choice to study at Curtin?

Melina: I chose Curtin because of its range of course options and the services available to international students. Curtin also provides you with access to industry, and I had spoken to people who highly recommended Curtin Business School.

Su: Attending Curtin Open Day was what really solidified my choice of studying at Curtin. I got the opportunity to talk to a lecturer in my course and the conversation was great. I also knew that the facilities on campus were amazing – it’s something Curtin prides itself on, so that really motivated my choice as well.

What surprised you the most about Curtin?

Michelle: I was surprised by the scale of the campus. It is huge and the views are amazing! I love the nature and the simplicity of its architecture. I was also surprised by the opportunities available to students, from study support to extra-curricular activities to career development. The people at Curtin are also very welcoming and friendly.

What type of facilities/services do you use on campus and how have they benefited you?

Khalid: The Robertson Library has a nice, comfortable lounge area and there are rooms for private and group study. My daughter also goes to the child care centre on campus here, which is great because it’s close to home and to me while I’m in class.

I’ve also used the Curtin Health Clinic for myself and my family, and the University’s housing service. They helped me to find my current house and took me through all the forms and documents.

What is your favourite thing to do on campus?

Michelle: I like to walk around campus as a simple exercise. I like to observe what other students are doing around campus and I enjoy taking in the views of green grass, tall trees, the nice decorations and the general campus design.

Sonish: I read a lot of books. I usually read a book a day, and the source of all my books is the Curtin library. My favorite thing to do on campus is to read a book with a cup of vanilla latte from the Bookworm Café, while lying on a bean bag at Henderson Court.

What would be your key piece of advice to future students on making the most of university?

Kimia: Keep the bigger picture in mind and try to see the relevance of what you are learning on a daily basis to your future career. Make friends from different cultures and backgrounds as every single person has something interesting to teach you. Don’t be afraid to ask questions – that’s how you learn.

Su: My biggest advice would be to get involved in university life, may it be in the classroom or outside. Try to engage with your lecturers and tutors as much as possible. I find that when I actually ask questions and get involved with the content, I do a lot better in the unit. Also, don’t leave assignments until the last minute! All-nighters are never fun.

What do you wish you would have known about university and Perth prior to leaving your home country?

Michelle: I went to an international predeparture session in my home country before I left, so I received a lot of useful information from the Curtin representative, who told me about international flight regulations, Perth’s public transport system and the New to Curtin website. I also got shown a map of the Curtin bus station, on-campus student accommodation and the local shopping centre. I felt safer when I came to Perth because I had a basic idea of the things here.

Melina: That I had no idea how much I would learn about myself and how much I would grow as a person from this study experience.

What has been the biggest challenge of living in a new country and how have you overcome this?

Douglas: There is a significant cultural difference between Australia and Kenya, as I come from a more community-based culture. To overcome this gap, I had to be willing to step out of my comfort zone and interact with different types of people, both local and international, to develop my own personal sense of community.

The vast range of activities at Curtin, campus events, social sports and clubs have helped me to socialise and align more with Australian culture.

What’s a place you’ve been to outside of Perth that you would recommend to others?

Michelle: Rottnest Island is a good short getaway. I have been there twice. The island is pretty with clean water, white sand and green trees. I enjoy cycling around the island with my friends.

We also got to take nice photos at the lighthouse and take selfies with quokkas. I would highly recommend looking for a good spot to a take a selfie with a cute quokka – just remember to look after your safety and to not scare or harm the quokkas!

What are your future career aspirations and how will you make tomorrow better?

Su: My future career aspirations are to come back to Curtin after I graduate and complete a Master of Clinical Psychology. I hope to make tomorrow better helping people with mental disorders improve their quality of life. I hope to be able to practise psychology not just in Australia but in other countries where mental healthcare is not as accessible.